Corvallis Gazette-Times from Corvallis, Oregon on August 8, 1999 · 10
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Corvallis Gazette-Times from Corvallis, Oregon · 10

Corvallis, Oregon
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 8, 1999
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A13 MID-VALLEY SUNDAY, AUG. 8, 1999 ALBANY (OR) DEMOCRAT-HERALD, CORVALLIS (OR) GAZETTE -TIMES Coast man practices ancient art Florence retiree captures whaling-era art of scratching images into bone. By Larry Bacon The (Eugene) Register-Guard : " FLORENCE - Archie Hornfelt calls it his scribe: a penlike tool with an old-fashioned steel phonograph needle for a tip. He lowers the steel to a piece of hand-polished antler and begins to scratch, applying considerable pressure in the process. - "It gets hard on the fingers," said the 70-year-old man. "I only just work a little while at a time." - He calls himself a "scrimshaw-er," a practitioner of an art practiced for centuries that can produce pieces of exquisite beauty. After a few deft strokes of his long fingers, he rubs India ink on the smooth white surface. When he wipes it off, a cartoon face formed by ink captured in the scratch marks grins up at him. It's an art form that takes time and patience, said Hornfelt, a retired professor of technology at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. One slip of the steel point and the piece is ruined, forcing him to grind off his scratches and. refinish the bone - a process that can involve hours of hand sanding and polishing with progressively finer grades of sandpaper. ; But Hornfelt rarely makes mistakes. Favoring the creatures of the wild eagles, elk and wolves he makes hundreds of intricate scratches to give their bodies life-' . like definition. "You've got to have the ability to go almost into a trance when you're doing an object," the lanky artist said as he practices his craft in his garage workshop. "Because you become a part of it. Each little scratch you put down will have a purpose." His voice trails off. For a man who spent years teaching precepts of physical science, he seems a little incredulous at the metaphysical concept he has just uttered. - "I don't know if I'm saying that right or not," he said, with a shake of his head. The sailors on the whaling ships who popularized the art . of scrimshaw might understand. Others before them in Asia and in native villages near the Arctic circle had performed scrimshaw Man arrested in Mexico for Oregon crimes The Associated Press SAN DIEGO - An Oregon man who skipped his sentencing hearing in 1987 has been arrested in Baja California, the FBI said. Michael John Lassen, 53, was being held in San Diego and was expected to be extradited to Oregon next week, the FBI said in a statement. Lassen was arrested Thursday in n CRAPS- Oregon's wmn .in.. i. .urn. j . in. ,ii.i-..ui.ii..pim'"JH.-'-.,'-mi.."m"ni """ )"'"' - . wi-. " ' " t ' " II 1 j '.. Associated Press Archie Hornfelt scratches an elk image into an elk antler bud that will soon become a belt buckle. work, Hornfelt said, but whaling ship sailors gave the art a special flavor, scratching images of ships, sea creatures, seafaring men and the women who occupied their dreams. Much of the early American scrimshaw work took place in the early 19th century, during the heyday of whaling, Hornfelt said. It was a time when whalers often spent a year or more at sea, passing the time by scratching and coloring images on whales' teeth or whalebone. While Hornfelt now uses permanent India ink, shipboard artists often would color their work with soot from lamps or tobacco juice, leaving images that faded with time. Lovesick sailors-would some- San Miguel, Baja California, near Ensenada. Twelve years ago, he pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and two counts of arson for a fire at Odi's Cafe and Bronco Room in Elgin, Ore. Lassen fled Oregon before his sentencing hearing. The fire in 1986 spread to Elgin Hardware Store and killed Clarence L. Widdy, who was living in an apartment above the store. K v , . first craps tables are still Oregon's best times create fanciful scrimshaw images on the whalebone corset stays that contorted women of the early 1800s into shapes nature never intended. As top scrimshaw sailors improved their work, they became prized members of whaling crews, with ship captains claiming some of the artwork in exchange for raw ivory. At the end of the voyage, Hornfelt said, sale of the scrimshaw work would bring a profit for both the captain and the sailor. The end of the whaliAg boom also brought about a decline of scrimshaw work in the U.S. It didn't die out, but artists dwindled until a resurgencean the 1960s believed to have been spurred by , President Save Hundreds on Wedding Sets GUARANTEED 11 It,..,., ZDC in: ni i ' 1: 1 ! , - ,.' ; if I l t ' ' J h--: " . :, II 1 I ' I l .. J ,J I.- If 1 lS -i - ...... ii i r 1 it u j C craps tables. And they're surrounded by the John F. Kennedy's love of scrimshaw. A bittersweet reminder of that fondness was' evident recently after the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. prompted the reprinting of a famous photograph of father and son that shows John Jr. peeking from beneath the Oval Office desk. Several pieces of President Kennedy's favorite scrimshaw are displayed prominently on the desk. The growing popularity of scrimshaw, coupled with the killing of whales, elephants and other creatures for their ivory, helped bring about a 1977 international agreement restricting trade in any products from endangered species. The United States was a party to that agreement, enforcing new rules that virtually cut off the availability of ivory for American scrimshaw artists. Hornfelt supports the ivory ban and is happy to work on pieces of antler and horn, turning out bolo tie sliders, belt buckles, pins, earrings and cribbage boards. He's been at it for perhaps 15 years, first attracted to the art by reading a magazine article on how to. "spoon scrimshaw" etch images onto plastic spoons. His technique improved over , the years, and he eventually sold his pieces in several galleries. But the gallery sales brought pressure to turn out assembly-line-type work that Hornfelt found distasteful, and he decided to back off. He has lived in Florence for a year now. After spending much of his time working around his new house, he's ready to begin producing-more scrimshaw. Hornfelt gives his artwork to family and friends, takes some orders, and said he may start selling items in local galleries. But he'll work at his own pace, striving to make each piece different. One of these days he'll gather enough nerve to do his masterpiece - a magnificent sailing ship on a sperm whale tooth he collected before the ivory ban. It'll be mounted on a piece of rose quartz and become a family heirloom, not for sale. Hornfelt knows his work will outlast him, just as jnuch of the work by the early scrimshaw artists became their legacy. And that's one reasons he finds the work so satis- - fying: . - -".'This is the way I guess I can leave part of me behind," he said. Mid-Galley Gems & Jewelry 1434 Pacific Blvd., Albany 926-8410 Visit on the web: http; 1 bst of poker, blackjack, roulette, bingo, slots Fire destroys tirjcr homes in eastern Washington The Associated Press LAKE WENATCHEE, Wash. -A lightning storm sparked a fire that destroyed two homes in rural Grant County and caused rock slides that closed two highways near Chelan. The storm destroyed two families' homes in the tiny community of Ruff, about 20 miles east of Moses Lake, after lightning Friday touched off a grass fire. The lightning also caused a fire near Moses Lake that burned 150 acres of grass and brush before it was controlled. . Rain that accompanied the storm kicked loose rocks that cascaded down onto highways 97A and 971 between Entiat and Chelan. Around 11:15 p.m. Friday, Highway 97A was closed just south of the Knapps Tunnel. A few minutes later, a caller to the State Patrol reported that three rocks the size of small pickup trucks were blocking Highway 971. Both roads were closed for about an hour until the rocks were cleared, a State Patrol dispatcher said. The fire in rural Ruff (pronounced "roof") was reported just after 2 p.m. on Friday, said Capt. Travis Svilar of Grant County Fire District 5. He said lightning ignited dry grass. By the time fire crews arrived from Moses Lake, the fire had Million acres charred in Nevada The Associated Press WTNNEMUCCA, Nev. - Cooler temperatures and higher humidity helped firefighters make progress Saturday in their battle against more than 100 fires that had blackened 1 million acres of brush and grass. However, flames threatened Lose the WQfJ, jina the with tax training from We cover everything, from completing a basic 1040 to the skillful handling of complex schedules. Learn about recent changes in tax laws, as well as proven tax-saving strategies. Once you've graduated, you may even have the opportunity to interview with H&R Block. Call for the flexible course times and convenient locations in your area and enroll today! Completion of the course is neither an offer nor a guarantee of employment C1999 H&R Block Tax Services, Inc. 180599 AA 5 and the like. Hwy. 18, Grand Ronde. !i 42n Jt already consumed two homes. "Everything was up in flames by the time we got there," he said. Fire crews were able to put out the grass fire before it could reach the three or four other homes in the town, Svilar said. "It's mostly a lot of dry weeds between houses," he said. Svilar said residents were home at both houses when the fire broke out. Everyone escaped the flames and no injuries were reported, he said. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service is predicting that the weather front that has been unleashing lighting over the region for more than a week will finally leave by Monday. Meteorologist Gary Bennett said a new weather front is moving up from the coast of California and will bring cooler temperatures and more stable air without lightning. Bennett said the prolonged lightning storm is one of the most unusual weather pattern he's seen. He explained that it was caused by collided weather fronts - one bringing , moist and electrically charged air from the desert Southwest and a warmer and drier one that formed over the Northwest. "As the moisture came up from the south, it kind of collided with the dry air," he said. "When that happens, we tend to see thunderstorms without much rain, or dry lightning. numerous ranches in the Denio area near the Oregon border and a state, transportation department maintenance station on 1-80 west of Elko. Most of the fires were burning along a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 80, northern Nevada's major artery, between Lovelock and Elko. n H&R Block! EEOMFDV . 1 j f

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